A copy of the following letter was sent to the North Terrace BUG mailing list today, however I think it would be of interest to many at AC, so I have reposted here with the authors consent.
After one too many hair raising rides south along Pulteney St at dusk, I have decided to hang up my flourescent jacket. I don’t want to be the cyclist who will eventually die on that race track. Negotiating the ride between the the angry cars and buses and the parked cars with their potential to fling open a door is too much.
I am writing to you because I DO have great hopes that your vision for our city could deal with this problem. I have copied it to the North Terrace BUG ( Bicycle User Group) because they know how MANY cyclists use that route. Most of them are younger and faster than I am. That is the heart of the issue. If only fearless and speedy cyclists feel safe on our city streets then all the people who WOULD ride are never seen and never counted.
As a hopeful kind of person I like to think that one day I’ll get back on the bike. I’ve been commuting whenever possible since the age of 9 and want to continue. What plans are there for improving cycle safety in the CBD in general and Pulteney St in particular? Are you aware of the dedicated lanes, separate from traffic and parked cars that have been built in the hilly, wet, cold city of Vancouver? Surely we can do better?
Replies are closed for this discussion.
My attitude is that I don't commute to go the shortest/fastest way and I am prepared to walk if necessary (I don't use cleats) Given that then there are 2 options from the corner of Pultney/Nth Terrace to Pultney/Pirie
1 West along Nth Terrace to Austin st, Up Austin St to the arcade. Walk thru the arcade and across Rundle mall then ride along Hyde Street Left into Pirie.
2 Along Pultney to the Rundle Mall car park down the lane behind Rundle Mall carpark to Bent st. Down Bent st across Grenfell into the Office building and through them to Pirie. (Admittedly this uses Pultney but it decreases the distance on Pultney by 1/2 to 2/3's)
From Adelaide Uni there are even more options.
To be honest I don't really see why I should commute by bike, which is inherently slower, and also have to take a long route around because some of the people using the faster and more convenient form of transport don't know how to use it safely. Why should why should we have to get to cycling amongst dangerous drivers? What don't the dangerous drivers get used to cyclists?
I like David's idea of making a couple of the major streets some form of cyclist preferred route with lower speed limits.
Change the Law.
Put the onus on the larger vehicle when accidents occur. Part of the nature of having a large vehicle is that is more difficult to see the vehicle's periphery and more cumbersome in maneuvering. That is no excuse if and when an accident occurs - the driver must pay better and more acute attention.
Nonetheless, the total circumstance must also be considered.
Totally disagree with putting the onus on the larger vehicle. There are too many idiot bicycle and motor cycle riders that would take advantage of that type of law.
"the driver must pay better and more acute attention" should be "all road users must pay better and more acute attention"
Err, so you disagree on the premise that many cyclists would simply ride without due care because of that same (imaginary) law? I did state that due circumstance must be considered.
Now it is true that some cyclists ride oblivious to all around them - I personally don't see them very often and I'd think they are simply vying for a Darwin Award. Stories abound though.
Plenty of motorists drive oblivious to the cyclist that they are approaching, I've seen lots of those and I sure pay attention to them.
Now I guess I didn't word my comment above very well, and yes, all road users must pay full and complete attention at all times. However I'm sure you agree that the (pathetic) excuse given not uncommonly was "I didn't see the cyclist". Yep, being wrapped in a steel vehicle sure gives a sense of safety but is no excuse for being blind to those smaller vehicles, aka bikes.
I didn't say there were many - I said there were too many (1 is too many in case you don't get the distinction between the two phrases).
There are also cyclists out there who nearly run into you and also say "Sorry I didn't see you" or do dangerous things around other cyclist or pedestrians. And inattention on any road users part (not just car drivers) is no excuse for being blind to any other road user.
The name Nicky Page rings a bell with me from my time spent on the BISA committee. I'm fairly sure that she has been an ardent cyclist and advocate for cyclists for many years serving on more than one bug and using a bicycle as her prime mode of transport with public transport as her second choice. Things must be getting pretty bad when somebody with so much experience and belief in cycling gives it away.